The Section 8 Notice to Quit and the Section 21 Eviction Notice are the notices you will need when you are evicting a tenant. It’s never a nice thing to have to do this but when they don’t pay rent for months or if they are causing damage to your property then often you’re left with no choice.
Today we’re going to be looking at how to go about evicting a tenant and specifically we’ll be examining a problem faced by one of our clients who needs to do just that. He has run into difficulty with a tenant in one of his properties and wants to know whether he should issue a Section 8 Notice to Quit or a Section 21 Eviction Notice and more generally what the eviction process involves.
The question is from Bon Yip…
“Hi Robert, sorry for bothering you. I don’t know whether it’s appropriate to ask you about the issue I face but here goes. I bought a property at the end of last year in Warrington. It’s a two bedroom terraced house. The letting agent helped me find a tenant who moved in just before Christmas. Two months passed and I didn’t receive any rent and the letting agent was unable to contact him. Yesterday the letting agent asked me to send an email to them issuing a Section 8 Notice to Quit and a Section 21 Eviction Notice.”
Yes, a Section 8 Notice to Quit and Section 21 Eviction Notice are requirements of getting possession back of a property. You will need them for evicting a tenant who is not paying rent.
Bon Yip continues…
“So the letting agent has asked me to proceed with legal action. Since I live in Hong Kong and have never been a landlord in the UK before I am unsure as to how to proceed. The letting agent has been unhelpful and won’t give me clear answers. I am worried about what will happen to my property. Is it going to be difficult to get my property back? Will it still be intact when I do? Can you give me some advice on this issue, thanks in advance, kind regards, Bon Yip”
1. Evicting a Tenant? Get a Solicitor
My first piece of advice is to use a solicitor. If you have to evict a tenant (if they’re causing damage, are a social nuisance or are not paying their rent) then in the UK there is a legal process to eviction and gaining repossession of the property that you must follow.
So whether you’re an investor who lives overseas or whether you’re UK based it doesn’t matter. You have to play by the rules. You can go through the process of issuing a Section 21 Eviction Notice or a Section 8 Housing Eviction Letter to the tenant yourself but there is room for error if you do. If you fill in the forms incorrectly or don’t follow proper procedure then you are going to run into trouble. So, when you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to evict a tenant then we strongly recommend that you use a solicitor to help you with the process.
2. The National Landlord’s Association
We are members of the NLA (The National Landlords Association) who support us with a lot of our tenant issues. It’s a paid membership subscription but I stress that it’s not attached to us in any way. The National Landlord’s Association provides a service that we use to get advice on managing our properties and we’ve found them to be very useful. There’s a member’s support line you can call to get advice on evicting a tenant and getting possession of your property back and they will be able to advise on the correct application of the Section 8 Notice to Quit and the Section 21 Eviction Notice.
3. Legal Advice in Evicting a Tenant
So, you don’t have to necessarily use a solicitor (though we advise that you do). You can get also get guidance from The National Landlord’s Association as to how to proceed. Your letting agent should also be able to help or at least offer some guidance. The important thing with regard to evicting a tenant in the UK is to get it right. It needs to be done following the right legal process and you want it to be done as quickly as possible. Any delay is just going to cost you more. That is why hiring a solicitor is probably the best thing to do. It’s simply more efficient to do this and everything will happen faster.
4. Bad Tenants
Stay positive. You won’t always get a bad tenant. Unfortunately, Bon Yip, it does seem that on this occasion and with your first property in the UK the tenant hasn’t turned out to be what you hoped for. The situation you are in however is thankfully rare. In all of the ten years that we’ve been involved in property investment and development, we’ve maybe had only a small handful of tenants that have been a problem and evicting a tenant is something we’ve hardly ever had to do and there’s a good chance that you will not have to go through this again with your property investments.
5. Putting it all Together
It is the right course of action to issue a Section 8 Notice to Quit and a Section 21 Eviction Notice. That said, my advice would be to get a solicitor to act on your behalf and get them liaising with the lettings agent. By doing this evicting the tenant should be a simple, smooth process.
I’d just like to say good luck with this, Bon Yip. I hope it all goes well and I realise this is an unpleasant situation that you’ve found yourself in. If there is anything else I can help you with, or if you need any more support then don’t hesitate to just drop me an email. I’m more than happy to help.
The Section 8 Notice to Vacate
A Section 8 Notice to Quit is also known as a Section 8 Housing Eviction Notice. It is a notice, served by a landlord when evicting a tenant. It used when a landlord wishes to regain possession of their property when an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement is in place and there has been a breach of contract between the landlord and the tenant.
Section 21 Notice
Section 21 refers to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. You must give at least 2 months notice in writing if you are using Section 21 eviction notice. This is a notice that can be given when the tenancy agreement has expired.
For more information see the government guide on the use of a Section 8 and the use of a Section 21.